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chiefly by hunting and trapping, but the Kaska depend more on the chase than do the Tahltan. Large game-animals are abundant, consisting of moose, caribou, sheep, goat, and bear. Marmots are plentiful in certain parts, and buffalo are said to have been fairly numerous at one time in the more eastern sections of the country.
The Kaska are entirely surrounded by Athapascan tribes, while the Tahltan are neighbors of tribes of two other stocks; viz., the Tlingit to the northwest and west, and the Niska and Kitksan tribes of the Tsimshian stock to the southwest. To the south the Sikani, Carrier, and Chilcotin tribes of the Athapascan stock separate the Tahltan and Kaska from the Shuswap and Lillooet, the nearest tribes of the interior Salish. Owing largely to their position, the Tahltan had a great deal of intercourse with the Tlingit, much more than with any other people. Intercourse and trading were chiefly by way of Stikine River. Trade was in the hands of the Tlingit of Wrangell and vicinity, who annually transported goods by canoe up the river to the head of canoe navigation, a little above Telegraph Creek and close to the headquarters of the Tahltan. The people of the latter tribe acted as middlemen in passing coast products inland, and inland products coastward. The main trade-route between the far east (the Mackenzie valley and the plains) and the Pacific coast in this part of British Columbia lay through the Tahltan and Kaska territory, and there is evidence of a number of cultural features having penetrated a long distance in both directions along that route. Here, as in other parts of the west, the main trade-routes lay as nearly east and west as the physical features of the country allowed; while other routes running north and south within the interior were unimportant, notwithstanding the fact that the nature of the country generally was favorable for travel and intercourse.
It may be expected that dissemination of tales has occurred chiefly along the main trade-routes, where intercourse between the tribes was most frequent and closest. Hence throughout the interior, dissemination of tales has followed east and west lines rather than north and south. As the same conditions as to routes prevailed in the southern interior as in the northern, it seems probable that a number of the incidents in tales of the Tahltan and Kaska which correspond with those in tales of the interior Salish have not passed directly from Athapascan to Salish tribes, or vice versâ, but have reached both from the same eastern and western sources,-chiefly, it seems, the latter. The Tahltan assert that in the old trading-rendezvous on the upper Stikine, members of the two tribes associated there for weeks together, and that one of the features of meeting was story-telling. Tahltan raconteurs told their stories one day, and Tlingit told theirs the following day. Sometimes they thus told stories turn about for
weeks. Occasionally the tribes competed in story-telling to see which had the most stories. As a result, it came to be acknowledged that the Tlingit had considerably more stories than the Tahltan. In this way, it is said, the Tahltan learned Tlingit stories, and vice versa.
It is therefore not surprising to find many elements of Tlingit origin in Tahltan tales. It seems that most stories of the Raven cycle, and many other tales, have been borrowed almost in their entirety. On the other hand, the Kaska tales show much less indication of Tlingit influence, and probably a little more of influence from the east. On the whole, they are probably more purely Athapascan. The importance of the chase (especially hunting of caribou) is reflected in the tales of both tribes. Fishing is not prominent, excepting in tales borrowed from the Tlingit. Root-digging and berrying, features often referred to in Salish tales, are almost entirely absent. Tales of European origin appear to be altogether unknown. I inquired for such tales as those of Petit Jean, John the Bear, and others, but without result. About one hundred and fifty themes, episodes, and incidents occurring in tales of the interior Salish (chiefly Shuswap), regarding which I made inquiry, I failed to obtain among the Tahltan, and there are also many others that are absent.
All the Tahltan tales, with the exception of six, were collected during the course of my work among the tribe in 1912. Almost all of them were obtained from Tuu:'ts ("strong rocks”), also known as “Dandy Jim," of the Nahlin clan of the Raven phratry of the Tahltan. He was selected by the tribe as the best-qualified person to give me information on their general ethnology, mythology, and so on. The other six tales were obtained at Telegraph Creek in 1915 from Jim and others. The Kaska tales were collected at the foot of Dease Lake in 1915, my informants being Tsonake''1, also known as Albert Dease, and his wife Nettie Mejade'sse, both members of the Kaska tribe. In every case I collected all the tales my informants knew.
Historic traditions, such as tales of war-expeditions and migrations, are not included in the present collection. I have included a number of variants of incidents in the text. I have added some explanatory notes where these seemed to be required. The comparative notes, excepting those referring to the interior Salish, Chilcotin, and some of the Tsetsa’ut notes, were added by the Editor of the Journal.
1. STORY OF BEAVER. A long time ago, when all the animals were people, Beaver was a great transformer. He travelled along a wide trail that was much used. Along the trail were many monsters that preyed on people. He came to a place where people always disappeared. Wolverene killed them. His house was at the foot of a glacier, between two rocky bluffs. The glacier was very slippery, and people crossing it slid down to the bottom, where they were transfixed on a spear placed there by Wolverene. As soon as something touched the spear, Wolverene knew it, and came out at once. If they were dead, he carried the bodies home; if they were only wounded, he killed them. His house was full of peoples' bones. Beaver went down this slide, and, cutting his lips with the spear so that they bled, pretended to be dead. Wolverene knew something had been caught, and came out smiling and very happy. When he saw Beaver, he said, “What a large beaver!” Then he laughed, and said, “I have caught this clever man." He carried the body home and put it down in his house. He had four flensing-knives. He used one after another, but they would not cut Beaver's skin. Then he searched for the fourth knife. Beaver knew that this knife would cut him, so he opened his eyes to see where he might find a stick. One of Wolverene's children noticed him, and called out, “Father, the Beaver has opened his eyes!” Wolverene answered, “You are mistaken. How can a dead man open his eyes?" Beaver jumped up and seized a stick, with which he broke Wolverene's arms and legs. He killed him, and put his body before the fire to roast. He also killed all Wolverene's children, and treated their bodies likewise.
Beaver went on, and came to a bluff overlooking a deep creek. He heard a dog barking below the cliff. He listened, and approached cautiously. Presently he saw a man on the top of the cliff, and went to him. This was Sheep-Man, who killed people by pushing them over the cliff. His wife attracted them by barking like a dog, and any who were not killed outright by the fall were clubbed by her at the bottom of the cliff. When Beaver reached Sheep-Man, the latter said, “ Look at the sheep down below!" Beaver said, “You look first, you saw them first." They quarrelled as to who should look over the brink first. At last Sheep-Man looked, and Beaver at once pushed him over. He was killed by the fall. When Sheep-Man's wife heard the thud of something falling at the base of the cliff, she ran out quickly, and began to club the man before she noticed that it was her own husband. She then looked up and saw Beaver, who threw a rock at her head and killed her. This is why the head of the mountain-sheep is so small between the horns; and the tongues of sheep are black because they once ate men.
Beaver travelled on, and came to a large camp of Sheep people. The women were good, and called to him, “Why do you come this way?" He answered, “I am looking for friends who have passed
1 Bellacoola (Boas, JE 1 : 86, Sagen 250), Eskimo (Boas, BAM 15 : 176), Loucheux (Camsell-Barbeau, JAFL 28 : 255), Tsetsa'ut (Boas, JAFL 10 : 46).
· Chilcotin (Farrand, JE 2 : 26), Pend d'Oreille (Teit, MAFLS II: 116), Sahaptin (Farrand-Mayer, MAFLS 11 : 152); see also RBAE 31 : 803.
along this trail.” The Sheep men followed him, and he ran among bluffs and rocks. It became dark; but they pursued him, just the same, by scenting him. He went down a steep place, and the Sheep did not know exactly which way he had gone. There his trail was a sheer cliff. They called out, “How did you get down?” and Beaver directed them to the sheer cliff. The Sheep then all ran over the cliff and were killed.
In the morning an old woman and girl arrived there. The woman proposed to marry Beaver, and had told the girl that when she slept with him, she (the girl) must club Beaver while he was asleep. Beaver refused the request of the women, and killed them both.
Beaver proceeded on his journey, and, after crossing a mountain, sat down on the trail. He saw a man coming, carrying a stick with a hook at the end. This was Marten-Man, who killed people (by hooking them between the legs). Beaver placed a piece of sheep's flesh between his legs and sat still. Marten asked many questions of Beaver. They conversed together and told stories to each other. Meanwhile Marten pushed his stick underneath the snow and hooked the meat. Beaver ran away, and Marten chased him. As he ran, Beaver dropped pieces of sheep's fat. Marten could not catch him, and turned back to his camp. He said to his wife, “I have lost some very fat game. The fat kept dropping from him as he ran. We will shift camp, and I will track him.” Next morning Marten tracked Beaver, and his wife and children followed behind. Beaver lay in wait for Marten, and killed him. He cut off che arm, and covered the rest of the body with snow. Then, making a camp, he scattered pieces of sheep's fat about, and put Marten's arm on a hook to roast. He had just hidden himself when Marten's family appeared. The children were delighted, saying, “Father has killed some fat game. See the camp, and the arm roasting, and the pieces of fat scattered about!” They ran around on their snowshoes, laughing, and gathering up the pieces of fat. When Beaver appeared, the eldest boy was going to shoot him with an arrow; but Beaver called out, “Don't! I am going to marry your sister." His mother took hold of his arm, and said, “Don't shoot! He will be your sister's husband.” Beaver said, "I will make a big fire, so that the meat will roast quickly." They did not know that it was Marten's arm. Beaver brought in some wood covered with snow and put it on the fire, which now became smoky and nearly went out. He asked the mother and children to get down on their hands and knees and blow on the fire. When they did so, Beaver clubbed them, and killed them all excepting the youngest child, who ran away and climbed a tree. Beaver could not catch him,
1 See Kutenai (Boas, BBAE 59 : 269, and notes 311 (Blackfoot, Shoshoni, Tsetsa'ut, Uinta Ute]).
VOL. XXX.—NO. 118.-28.
so he transformed him into the animal marten, saying, “Henceforth you shall be an ordinary marten, and shall eat rabbits and mice. You shall never again eat men.”
Beaver continued his journey along the trail. When near a small, round lake, he saw that a giant was following him. He went around the lake, and the giant chased him. Beaver ran round and round the lake, the giant behind him. The latter could not catch him, and began to slacken his pace. He said to Beaver, “How can I catch you?" Beaver answered, “Make ready everything required for frying and cooking my meat, then make a snare, set it, and catch me.” The giant did as advised. Beaver put a large tree-stump in the snare and hid in the brush. The giant felt something in his snare, and began to pull on the line. It was very heavy, and he gave a mighty tug. The stump gave way, and, flying up, struck him on the forehead. The wound bled much, and the giant licked and swallowed the blood as it ran down his face. He was very tired and hungry, for he had chased Beaver all day. He sat down, and thought, “What shall I eat?" He thought of eating his ears, but said, “No! if I eat my ears, I shall spoil my hearing." He thought of his nose, and said, “No! if I eat my nose, I shall no longer be able to smell.” He thought of all the different parts of his body, and at last of his privates. He could not think of their being of much use, so he cut them off and ate them. He felt sick, and said to himself, “I am getting very sleepy.” He was dying, but did not know it. He lay down and died.
Beaver continued his travels, and came to the edge of a large river.2 Happening to look round, he saw another giant coming. He took off his clothes, and painted himself with the white powdery substance that covers the outside bark of cottonwood-trees. He looked like a ghost. He put little sticks in his eyes to keep the eyelids open, and stood rigid and immovable alongside the trail. As the giant approached, he said, “That game looks very strange." He took his axe and made as if he would strike; but Beaver never moved, or winked an eye. The giant said, “This cannot be game.” The giant tickled him in different parts of the body, but Beaver neither moved nor laughed. The giant said again, “This is funny.” He poked his finger in Beaver's anus, and then smelled of it, saying, "Well, this smells like game, but the body does not act or look like game. This is very strange." He departed wondering. Beaver ran away and climbed a tree. The giant changed his mind, and returned to examine him again. When he arrived at the place and found that he was gone, he said, “I am very sorry I did not hit him with my axe. It was surely game." He followed the tracks 1 Also known to the Tahltan.
The following incident is also known to the Tahltan. See Tsetsa'ut (Boas, JAFL 10:45).